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7 Offbeat Things to Do Near Ellicott City This Weekend

If you’re like most people, you have a built-in sense of adventure – so check out these seven offbeat things to do near Ellicott City this weekend (and the weekend after that, because you won’t be able to fit them all in).

7 Offbeat Things to Do Near Ellicott City This Weekend

Each of these seven things to do near Ellicott City is within a few hours’ drive from downtown – but although they’re not all right in our own backyards, they’re definitely worth checking out:

  1. Visit Daniels Ghost Town
  2. Check out the Papermoon Diner
  3. Explore the Curtis Creek Ship Graveyard
  4. Stroll the Underground Railroad Experience Trail
  5. Snap some photos at Seneca Quarry
  6. Try your luck at the Maryland Gold Mine Ruins
  7. Enjoy the NASA Goddard Rocket Garden

Here’s a closer look at each.

Things to Do Near Ellicott City – #1: Visit Daniels Ghost Town

Daniels is home to the decaying remnants of a once-thriving town. Nestled deep in the forest along the Patapsco River, this tough-to-find ghost town still features remnants of old buildings and entire cars from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

Map it here.

Things to Do Near Ellicott City – #2: Check out the Papermoon Diner

If you haven’t been to the Papermoon Diner in Baltimore, now’s the time. This collection of oddities features a tremendous Pez collection and more mannequins than any one person should ever see in one place. The collection of pop culture paraphernalia is staggering, and there are plenty of photo-ops available.

Map it here.

Things to Do Near Ellicott City – #3: Explore the Curtis Creek Ship Graveyard

The Curtis Creek Ship Graveyard is teeming with discarded ships. The collection ranges from centuries-old schooners through the World War I era – it’s where unused, unwanted ships went to die. One of the most notable ships at Curtis Creek is the Flying Dutchman of Baltimore (formally known as the William T. Parker schooner), which was stranded in the Outer Banks in 1899 before it drifted, unmanned, from North Carolina to Maine. You can launch your own boat from the Jaws Marina at 6100 Chemical Road.

Map it here.

Related: List of military bases in Maryland

Things to Do Near Ellicott City – #4: Stroll the Underground Railroad Experience Trail

The Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Ashton-Sandy Spring runs through a historic Quaker town that outlawed slavery in 1777 – and you can stroll the same path used from then on, including throughout the Civil War. Run by the Montgomery County Parks System, you can follow the trail to where Dred Scott was given shelter in 1857.

Map it here.

Things to Do Near Ellicott City – #5: Snap Some Photos at Seneca Quarry

The old Seneca Quarry in Poolesville provided the red sandstone you frequently see in Washington, D.C. (particularly the Smithsonian Castle), and though it’s abandoned now, the remnants of many of the buildings still remain. Located along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal on the north bank of the Potomac, it’s tucked away in a dense forest and easy to miss. The quarry was active in the late 1700s and continued to produce until about 1901.

Map it here.

Things to Do Near Ellicott City – #6: Try Your Luck at the Maryland Gold Mine Ruins

The Maryland Mine Company, founded after the Civil War, mined for – and found plenty of – gold at the Maryland Gold Mine. In fact, you can still find gold today, more than 150 years after a Union soldier accidentally discovered some while washing pots and pans in an area stream. Active mining continued until 1939, and you can still find stonework, an old water tank’s base and a blacksmith’s shop, as well as sealed-off mine shaft entrances.

Map it here.

Related: 7 of the best restaurants in Ellicott City

Things to Do Near Ellicott City – #7: Enjoy the NASA Goddard Rocket Garden

A graveyard of retired rockets is the central theme of the NASA Goddard Rocket Garden, where you’ll see gems like the Apollo capsule used for training, a 114,000-pound Thor Delta-B rocket and more. There’s a visitor center on-site that offers exhibits on the work being done in the Goddard Space Center, models of the Hubble Space Telescope and fragments of moon rock.

Map it here.

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